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K92

Bowden Ball Year 5

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I have taken most of the season off from posting because I made a fool of myself in the Wisconsin thread.  I have been mostly watching from the sidelines since then.  However, I have been so disappointed following the Buffalo game that I want to start this topic to get a real discussion of the state of the program.  I realize that Akron has a history of being one of the very worst programs in D-1 history.  I also realize that when Terry took over, the team was the absolute worst in the country and took over for the biggest p.o.s. coach of all-time.  That being said, are you satisfied with where the program sits?  I am not, but I could be persuaded with some sound logic that could make me feel better.  I am of the belief that the team has beaten nobody so far.  I am also of the belief that there have been some absolutely awful losses in the last 4 and a half years.

 

Here is the rundown. . . can you point to the wins that I should feel good about?  I can remember every game on this list pretty vividly.  I watched 39 of them in person, 18 on TV.  Going down the list, I felt more pain than pride.

 

2012 Akron Zips (1-11) 169 Sagarin

UCF (10-4) 45 Sagarin                     L 14-56

@FIU (3-9) 127 Sagarin                  L 38-41

Morgan St. (3-8) 228 Sagarin       W 66-6

@Tennessee (5-7) 56 Sagarin      L 26-47

Miami (4-8) 125 Sagarin                L 49-56

BG (8-5) 74 Sagarin                          L 10-24

@Ohio (9-4) 75 Sagarin                  L 28-34

NIU (12-2) 39 Sagarin                      L 7-37

@CMU (7-6) 111 Sagarin               L 14-35

@KSU (11-3) 60 Sagarin                 L 24-35

UMASS (1-11) 178 Sagarin            L 14-22

@Toledo (9-4) 69 Sagarin              L 23-35

 

2013 Akron Zips (5-7) 137 Sagarin

@UCF (12-1) 25 Sagarin                 L 7-38

JMU (6-6) 131 Sagarin                    W 35-33

@Michigan (7-6) 44 Sagarin         L 24-28

ULL (9-4) 81 Sagarin                        L 30-35

@BG (10-4) 39 Sagarin                   L 14-31

Ohio (7-6) 122 Sagarin                    L 3-43

@NIU (12-2) 59 Sagarin                 L 20-27

@Miami (0-12) 224 Sagarin          W 24-17

BSU (10-3) 70 Sagarin                     L 24-42

KSU (4-8) 123 Sagarin                     W 16-7

@UMASS (1-11) 193 Sagarin        W 14-13

Toledo (7-5) 68 Sagarin                  W 31-29

 

2014 Akron Zips (5-7) 134 Sagarin

Howard (5-7) 228 Sagarin             W 41-0

@PSU (7-6) 46 Sagarin                   L 3-21

Marshall (13-1) 23 Sagarin            L 17-48

@Pitt (6-7) 61 Sagarin                    W 21-10

EMU (2-10) 208 Sagarin                 W 31-6

Miami (2-10) 159 Sagarin              W 29-19

@Ohio (6-6) 135 Sagarin               L 20-23

@BSU (5-7) 117 Sagarin                 L 21-35

BG (8-6) 119 Sagarin                       L 10-27

@Buffalo (5-6) 141 Sagarin          L 24-55

UMASS (3-9) 154 Sagarin              W 30-6

@KSU (2-9) 169 Sagarin                 L 24-27

 

2015 Akron Zips (8-5) 99 Sagarin

@OU (11-2) 4 Sagarin                     L 3-41

Pitt (8-5) 40 Sagarin                         L 7-24

Sav St. (1-9) 245 Sagarin                W 52-9

@ULL (4-8) 141 Sagarin                 W 35-14

Ohio (8-5) 92 Sagarin                      L 12-14

@EMU (1-11) 161 Sagarin             W 47-21

@BG (10-4) 32 Sagarin                   L 10-59

CMU (7-6) 79 Sagarin                      L 6-14

@UMASS (3-9) 125 Sagarin          W 17-13

@Miami (3-9) 154 Sagarin            W 37-28

Buffalo (5-7) 112 Sagarin               W 42-21

KSU (3-9) 167 Sagarin                     W 20-0

USU (6-7) 76 Sagarin                       W 23-21

 

2016 Akron Zips (5-4) 108 Sagarin

VMI (3-5) 204 Sagarin                     W 47-24

@Wisc. (6-2) 11 Sagarin                L 10-54

@Marshall (2-6) 123 Sagarin       W 65-38

ASU (6-2) 60 Sagarin                       L 38-45

@KSU (3-6) 125 Sagarin                 W 31-27

WMU (8-0) 24 Sagarin                    L 0-41

@BSU (4-4) 110 Sagarin                 W 35-25

@Buffalo (2-6) 160 Sagarin          L 20-41

 

There are 3 wins versus a team with a Sagarin rating above 100.  Toledo (2013), Pitt (2014) and Utah State (2015).  Of that group, only Toledo had a winning record.

 

My apologies for any errors.

Edited by K92

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Its certainly true that our program is still not at a totally solid spot. We are better than 5 years ago, but I don't believe that anyone can yet call us a "good" MAC team. The question is should we be at a better spot than we currently are?

 

I remember when Bowden was first hired he mentioned multiple times that you can pretty accurately judge a coach by his second and third year with his new team. He said by year two the team should have a better record and year three they should be significantly better and in a spot to compete. In Bowden's second year we had the improved record with four more wins than the year prior, but then year three we said the same with a second consecutive 5-7 tally. Some could argue that there was improvement in the third year, as we beat a pretty good Pitt team on the road and were 4-2 before falling apart down the stretch. Of course, we continued on to get our first ever bowl win the next year.

 

So are we at a spot that we should be happy with our football program? I don't know. It is certainly interesting to look at a WMU team that was 1-11 in the first year that Fleck was brought on board. You could argue that WMU was a better team before Fleck than Akron was before Bowden, but there is no denying that he took that team to a whole new level in four years. The fact is that our team still has not shown the ability to consistently beat teams with a winning record and occasionally loses to really bad teams.

 

Bowden is signed through the end of next season. I believe that we should be happy to give him the rest of his tenure, but start taking a hard look throughout 2017. I am personally still hopeful of Bowdenball's future at Akron, but I do not have the rock solid faith that I had before this season.

Edited by UAZippers

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After 5 years we are where we should have been after 3 years. 

 

We beat " most" of the teams we should beat, lose to every team we should lose to, and lose more than we win in the could go either way category. 

 

Recruiting still sucks. Sorry to those that feel that just because we are getting more local kids mean it doesn't. We have a lot of transfers. I have no issues with transfers filling a hole here or there but when they are the bulk of your best players it's an issue. 

It's like the NFL. You can't build a team through free agency and you can't build a team through transfers. Sure, we've hit on some recruits but overall the results aren't good. 

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5 hours ago, K92 said:

I have taken most of the season off from posting because I made a fool of myself in the Wisconsin thread.  I have been mostly watching from the sidelines since then.

 

Love you Keener (and I'm not being sarcastic) missed you posting.  I almost came over and introduced myself during one of the pregames in Lot9, but missed the opportunity because I was pulled away to meet the (now) president.  I do think it's important to have a real discussion on this issue, as opposed to the normal feces throwing shout matches that go on here.  I'm in the Bowden Camp myself, so I will do my best to present a case as to why we're better off with Bowden than a (?).  Note I'm coming from the background of not being exposed to the history of Zips football.  My fandom is marred with a lackluster final season of Burkhart, and two seasons of iCoach.

 

First I want to outline the history of Zips football since the 2005 MAC Championship, the last time it looked like we were on the cusp of something special in Akron football (to the newer fan of Zips football of course).

 

2005  7-6 (5-3)  *MAC Championship* and got there by being tied with other teams, and having the advantage of the tie breaker.

2006  5-7 (3-5)

2007  4-8 (3-5)

2008  5-7 (3-5)

2009  3-9 (2-6)

2010  1-11 (1-7) Lost to an FCS team.

2011  1-11 (0-8)

2012  1-11 (0-8)

2013  5-7 (4-4)

2014  5-7 (3-5)

2015  8-5 (5-3) First D-1 Bowl Win Ever, First Bowl appearance in a Decade

2016  5-4 (3-2) Still in contention, and in control of their own destiny for MAC Championship

 

BowdenBall Achievements:

 

2012  Most Yards passing in Akron History, uptempo offense, was in most games unlike the previous 2 years.

2013  First Road win in Years.  More than 1 win at home in years.  Beat a better Bowl Bound team, Toledo.  Competed in most games.  Regained the Wagon Wheel.

2014  First P5 victory in years (Pittsburgh).  

2015  First Bowl appearance in a Decade, First D-1 Bowl Win ever, First winning record in a Decade.

2016  Broke Kent winning streak at home.  (TBD)

 

IMHO the most disappointing year of BowdenBall was 2014, when we should have gone bowling.  That year we were marred with lackluster QB play from a Veteran who became injured and a young inexperienced QB.  Had we given up on the team, which a lost of people did starting off the 2015 year in similar fashion as to how the 2014 season played out, would we have seen the 7-5 season with a Bowl win the following season?

 

Now in 2016 it seems that a largely young and inexperienced team has become marred with injuries, yet still finds itself at 5-4, with complete control of whether or not they go to Detroit or not.  I'm personally in the Camp now that we've got to complete the little things FIRST (Bowl game appearance, Bowl game win, MAC Championship game) BEFORE we realistically think about being a WMU type team. 

 

I think it is pretty clear that Bowden is trying to build a progrum, not a resume.  How many MAC teams have we seen get a coach, who leads them to quick success, bolts, and then the program falls apart?  I'd trade slow progress into creating a year-in-year-out winning record, than a one hit wonder.

 

Objectively, though, I have to agree with you.  As it stands currently, looking at the Sagarin scores we have regressed (where as each other season we improved slightly over the previous year), but the season isn't finished yet.  If you had measured the Sagarin scores prior to beating Utah State, it might have looked as if the season wasn't all that good.  Heck, if you had measured before the final 3 games of the regular season last year, it would have looked like we had regressed and not improved.

 

Even in a 1-11 season, we began (as a fan base) to believe that we could win games.  Now we almost expect to every week.  That's good.  That means our culture is turning around, that means we're making progress IMO.  

 

I'm the eteranl optimist though.  :D

 

 

 

Edited by Balsy
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I'll just say this.  I'm always cognizant of the fact that he hasn't had high quality wins (In my opinion, Pitt was the biggest).  And others who matter are cognizant of this fact as well.  So, it has not been overlooked. 

 

On the other hand, I always have to ask the obvious question:  Progress has clearly been made.  In fact, a huge jump from where we stood a few years ago.  So, where exactly do we look to attract someone as experienced and qualified to take us higher?  That's always a big risk.  Brian Kelly was an incredible find for a MAC school.  And is Akron even in a good enough position to attract a top young talent (who would leave when he wins anyway) vs. where we stood during the last 2 coaching searches?  In my opinion, we're in as good of a position as we can possibly be in....for right now.  And although this season isn't over yet to evaluate it fully, I'm still convinced that if the injury problems with our personnel were not so rampant, we certainly would have been able to play better football for the last month or so.  

Edited by skip-zip
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I'd like to shake up the coordinators before I'd seriously consider giving Bowden the boot. For starters Jeff Bowden needs to go. Our kickoff coverage has been absolutely terrible. We've been able to attract offensive talent (Natson, Ball, Kato, and a few other P5 transfers that will be suiting up for us next season), but the well has seemed to run dry on us bringing in the same caliber of players on defense. We got Marcus and Pittman which are great, but that's kind of it when we talk about getting defensive recruits that are coveted by other P5 teams. I would never question Amato's knowledge of X's and O's, but if he can't appeal to 17, 18, and 19 year old kids that kind of limits his ability as a coach.

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Last week hurt. If we beat Buffalo we'd be bowl eligible with 3 game left and still in line for a crack at the championship game. Obviously that didn't happen , but I don't think one game changes all that much in the grand scheme of things . I'd like to be further along, but I feel the program is steadily moving in the right direction . 

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Great topic, K92, and welcome back. I enjoy your contributions.

 

Toledo, Pitt, and Utah State were quality wins in prior seasons as are AT Marshall, and AT Ball State this season.

 

I think part of the disappointment comes from thinking we turned a corner with the impressive win at Ball State two weeks ago. I wasn't expecting it and thought it foretold of another record season for us. Hence, the epic disappointment with the performance against a terrible Canadian school. Buffalo was a huge missed opportunity for the progress of the program and the MAC standings. The OU win at Toledo the same night made it even worse. If this is the only blemish on the season, I find it acceptable given the injuries.

 

However, the progress of the progrum is significant. I give Bowden a pass on the first season entirely. Bare cupboards = 1-11. Fine. Since then, we are at .500 overall, above .500 in the MAC, and 13-10 in the last two seasons with our first bowl win and are competing for a MACC this season. This will likely be our first season with a win against BUGS in forever, and if we play to our potential, the same could be said for OU too. Things were bleak at this point of last season, but it ended beautifully.

 

Keep in mind, we are coming from a place (2013 as documented by Balsy, kudos) where getting a road win and winning multiple games in a year were milestones to now having the most wins in a season and our first ever bowl victory (2015). That is tremendous progress in 2-3 years. Bowden isn't perfect, but he is perfect for the long-term stability and building of our progrum. I look forward to the "winning big" phase and hope you (K92) can remain patient enough to enjoy the (sometimes bumpy) ride in the meantime.

 

 

Edited by UAZipster0305

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3 minutes ago, zippy5 said:

Last week hurt. If we beat Buffalo we'd be bowl eligible with 3 game left and still in line for a crack at the championship game. 

 

We still have a crack at the championship.  Win out and we're in.

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2 minutes ago, Balsy said:

 

We still have a crack at the championship.  Win out and we're in.

 

Or, focus on winning just the next TWO games only, and we'll at least get to play for the East title, no matter what anyone else does. We still absolutely control our own destiny.  

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Lack of enthusiasm, lack discipline, lack of depth seem to have plagued this team. Things are getting much better from years ago, but Akron needs a motivator on the coaching staff. Seeing Terry doing his 'Ok arms up, now arms down' stuff on you-tube doesn't cut it I believe. Maybe a guy like Stroud should get more involved in the motivational hype to help as Gildersleeve may not be THE guy for now. I saw a post game talk recently and only Tuley-Tillman and Venckus were on their knee listening to Bowden. Don't get me wrong, I think Terry is our guy, but maybe he needs to take on a more dignified stance with the team so that when he speaks EVERYONE listens.

 

I also think that lack of depth is playing a role beyond not having suitable backups on the 2 deep. If a starter is banged up he will fight to play if he thinks sitting will hurt his chances to play in the future. This is called competition and it is a great motivator. We need more and I think we will get there, but for now the stadium will be empty and we will have to take the interesting things going on at Akron games as enough until the consistent wins arrive, just a little late.                       

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You should feel good about the win AT Kent this year too. Woodson out, Chapman in and played a terrible first half. Turned it around in the second half only to still be down to an athletic Kent QB playing his heart out and making an amazing play to take the lead with little time left. And we walked away with a W and the Wagon Wheel. There was no quit in the team and Bowden respects the significance of the rivalry.

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27 minutes ago, UAZipster0305 said:

Great topic, K92, and welcome back. I enjoy your contributions.

 

Toledo, Pitt, and Utah State were quality wins in prior seasons as are AT Marshall, and AT Ball State this season.

 

I think part of the disappointment comes from thinking we turned a corner with the impressive win at Ball State two weeks ago. I wasn't expecting it and thought it foretold of another record season for us. Hence, the epic disappointment with the performance against a terrible Canadian school. Buffalo was a huge missed opportunity for the progress of the program and the MAC standings. The OU win at Toledo the same night made it even worse. If this is the only blemish on the season, I find it acceptable given the injuries.

 

However, the progress of the progrum is significant. I give Bowden a pass on the first season entirely. Bare cupboards = 1-11. Fine. Since then, we are at .500 overall, above .500 in the MAC, and 13-10 in the last two seasons with our first bowl win and are competing for a MACC this season. This will likely be our first season with a win against BUGS in forever, and if we play to our potential, the same could be said for OU too. Things were bleak at this point of last season, but it ended beautifully.

 

Keep in mind, we are coming from a place (2013 as documented by Balsy, kudos) where getting a road win and winning multiple games in a year were milestones to now having the most wins in a season and our first ever bowl victory (2015). That is tremendous progress in 2-3 years. Bowden isn't perfect, but he is perfect for the long-term stability and building of our progrum. I look forward to the "winning big" phase and hope you (K92) can remain patient enough to enjoy the (sometimes bumpy) ride in the meantime.

 

 

 

Quality post and for the record I'm not on the fire Bowden bandwagon, but can see how the argument has gained some momentum. There are a few things I disagree with your post however.

 

1) Beating a 2-6 Marshall is not even close to being a quality win and I wouldn't label Ball State as one neither. I will concede Utah State and Pitt were big for the program.

 

2) Losing to Buffalo isn't the only blemish on the season. There is no shame in losing to WMU and Wisconsin, however, losing to them by a combined score of 95-10 is extremely humiliating.

Edited by kreed5120

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11 minutes ago, UA1987 said:

Seeing Terry doing his 'Ok arms up, now arms down' stuff on you-tube doesn't cut it I believe. Maybe a guy like Stroud should get more involved in the motivational hype to help as Gildersleeve may not be THE guy for now. I saw a post game talk recently and only Tuley-Tillman and Venckus were on their knee listening to Bowden. Don't get me wrong, I think Terry is our guy, but maybe he needs to take on a more dignified stance with the team so that when he speaks EVERYONE listens.                   

 

I think what you might be alluding to here is that he doesn't bring that energy and enthusiasm factor to table, like a younger coach might bring.  It's certainly fair to say that we this is one of the negatives of having an older coach who's been around awhile, and is towards the end of a long career.  But at the same time, nobody can say that his demeanor vs. someone with a different demeanor is proven to create different levels of success.  In fact, this same route that we are on has worked pretty well for OU.  

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21 minutes ago, kreed5120 said:

 

Quality post and for the record I'm not on the fire Bowden bandwagon, but can see how the argument has gained some momentum. There are a few things I disagree with your post however.

 

1) Beating a 2-6 Marshall is not even close to be a quality win and I wouldn't label Ball State as one neither. I will concede Utah State and Pitt were big for the program.

 

2) Losing to Buffalo isn't the only blemish on the season. There is no shame in losing to WMU and Wisconsin, however, losing to them by a combined score of 95-10 is extremely humiliating.

 

Thanks for the respect, kreed5120. Ditto.

 

1) We had only won AT Marshall once before in the history of our program...and we blew them out by scoring a program record number of points. I don't care if Marshall is having a down year. They are an overall strong program, and that was a quality win to me. Ball State is also a place where we consistently lose and would have for sure just a couple seasons ago. We were down at halftime and came back. In my opinion, that makes it a quality win.

 

2) WMU and Wisconsin are two of the best programs in the country. Against WMU we were severely injured, especially without Woodson. We don't have the depth to lose key starters at skill positions and compete with the best in the country. That's the state of our program, but it's significantly better than years past. The improvement just doesn't show up when handicapped against the best-of-the-best.

Edited by UAZipster0305

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12 minutes ago, UAZipster0305 said:

 

Thanks for the respect, kreed5120. Ditto.

 

1) We had only won AT Marshall once before in the history of our program...and we blew them out by scoring a program record number of points. I don't care if Marshall is having a down year. They are an overall strong program, and that was a quality win to me. Ball State is also a place where we consistently lose and would have for sure just a couple seasons ago. We were down at halftime and came back. In my opinion, that makes it a quality win.

 

2) WMU and Wisconsin are two of the best programs in the country. Against WMU we were severely injured, especially without Woodson. We don't have the depth to lose key starters and compete with the best in the country. That's the state of our program, but it's significantly better than years past. The improvement just doesn't show up when handicapped against the best-of-the-best.

 

1) This isn't your fathers Marshall. They've lost to some really bad teams this year and just because they were good 2-3 years ago doesn't mean they are good now. Also, Akron has a track record of losing to about everyone. By that logic pretty much every win is a quality win. I'd say our win over Miami > our win over Marshall.

 

2) Every team deals with injuries to some degree. Perhaps and likely Akron was hit harder than Wisconsin or WMU. What irks me isn't the fact we couldn't beat these teams, it's that we couldn't even somewhat stay in the game. I'm just asking staying within 3 TDs of 1 of these 2 games. We are in Bowden's 5th year and we are still 41 points worse than the MAC's best team. That's a massive gap to close and makes you wonder how long is it going to take for Akron to become a real contender?

 

 

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10 minutes ago, kreed5120 said:

 

1) This isn't your fathers Marshall. They've lost to some really bad teams this year and just because they were good 2-3 years ago doesn't mean they are good now. Also, Akron has a track record of losing to about everyone. By that logic pretty much every win is a quality win. I'd say our win over Miami > our win over Marshall.

 

2) Every team deals with injuries to some degree. Perhaps and likely Akron was hit harder than Wisconsin or WMU. What irks me isn't the fact we couldn't beat these teams, it's that we couldn't even somewhat stay in the game. I'm just asking staying within 3 TDs of 1 of these 2 games. We are in Bowden's 5th year and we are still 41 points worse than the MAC's best team. That's a massive gap to close and makes you wonder how long is it going to take for Akron to become a real contender?

 

 

Fair points, kreed5120.

 

I will take as many wins against traditionally strong programs like Marshall and Miami as we can get. Even wins against P5 schools or schools with big name recognition are great regardless of their football tradition. Syracuse, UMass, NC State, UCF, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Pitt, Army, Navy, Cincinnati, Utah State, and Temple...all either big, P5 schools or schools with some success in OOC football that we have wins over. In my opinion, these are all big wins for us.

 

In deference to your point that we are still 41 points worse than the MAC's best team, WMU 2016 may prove to be the best MAC team ever. Miami finished #11 one season. CMU got their doors blown off by this WMU team nearly as badly as we did.

 

With a healthy Woodson, a few things would have gone differently early in the game, and I think it would have been significantly closer than it was. In the end though, WMU wins. They are just a much better team.

 

I'll be ecstatic if/when we get to the point of competing with the best of the B1G.

Edited by UAZipster0305

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21 minutes ago, UAZipster0305 said:

WMU and Wisconsin are two of the best programs in the country.

 

It probably wasn't necessary to go way, way over the top about WMU's status, just to prove some other point.  WMU has never been ranked before.  They are a good TEAM this year, based on their record.  They might someday be a good or great PROGRAM.  But lumping them with Wisconsin and saying that they are "two of the best programs in the country" is way overboard (note the nautical reference, consistent with WMU's slogan).   

 

I wish this was all it took to catapult a good MAC season into recognition as a nationally-prominent program.  Fleck would probably love to copy and paste that label to his e-mails, coming from an Akron fan.  :)

 

Pull way back on those Bronco reigns for awhile.  They have a long way to go to be regarded the same as a Wisconsin.   

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2 minutes ago, skip-zip said:

 

It probably wasn't necessary to go way, way over the top about WMU's status, just to prove some other point.  WMU has never been ranked before.  They are a good TEAM this year, based on their record.  They might someday be a good or great PROGRAM.  But lumping them with Wisconsin and saying that they are "two of the best programs in the country" is way overboard (note the nautical reference, consistent with WMU's slogan).   

 

I wish this was all it took to catapult a good MAC season into recognition as a nationally-prominent program.  Fleck would probably love to copy and paste that label to his e-mails, coming from an Akron fan.  :)

 

Pull way back on those Bronco reigns for awhile.  They have a long way to go to be regarded the same as a Wisconsin.   

I should have said two of the best teams this year, skip-zip. Thanks for the clarification.

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27 minutes ago, UAZipster0305 said:

CMU got their doors blown off by this WMU team nearly as badly as we did.

 

I'm sure we all thought that this was the big deal that it looked like at the time.  Unfortunately, CMU has lost twice more since then, including a home loss to Kent.  

Edited by skip-zip
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55 minutes ago, skip-zip said:

 

I think what you might be alluding to here is that he doesn't bring that energy and enthusiasm factor to table, like a younger coach might bring.  It's certainly fair to say that we this is one of the negatives of having an older coach who's been around awhile, and is towards the end of a long career.  But at the same time, nobody can say that his demeanor vs. someone with a different demeanor is proven to create different levels of success.  In fact, this same route that we are on has worked pretty well for OU.  

No not really what I'm saying and I don't know what they do at Ohio, but demeanor or conduct of a coaching staff can have a significant impact on enthusiasm and discipline of a team. I'm not saying Terry is too old and has lost this team at all, as I think he is well liked, but I don't want to see things like a reserve lineman and a potential starter in a year or two standing 20 yards from the team during a game and looking disgusted at not playing. I watched Western's players (including reserves) hustle to designated spots on the field on timeouts to keep everyone alert and in the game. I also saw us bungle a pregame motivational stunt and it being used against us. If you do not have the mental aspect of this game buttoned down you will lose when you should win and upsets will be harder to obtain and I think we need a little work on this part of the game in addition to signing up more solid recruits.                        

Edited by UA1987

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Nice, constructive discussion so far. Last week's loss was tough for me. One of the toughest I've had up there with the 2014 Kent and Buffalo games to prevent us from being bowl eligible. So tough, that I think I'm going to pass on going down and watching them play Toledo Wednesday night for fear that I'll be wasting my time to watch a blow out. I have no clue what to expect for the rest of the season.

 

The program just isn't in a spot where we beat every team we are supposed to beat. However, just looking at last week's results...CMU had no business losing to Kent State and Toledo had no business losing at home to Ohio. I'd imagine the fans of those programs are pretty damn happy where they are otherwise. crap happens.

 

Some important questions need asked and answered when evaluating Bowden. Are we where we should be after 5 years? Who do we have to compare with? I personally would like to be a little farther along, but I don't think its fair to compare us with WMU. Three straight 1-11 seasons. We were the worst program in the country and it wasn't even debatable. Bowden's first "class" shouldn't be held against him. He was hired...what, a month before signing day? He had nothing to work with and nearly everyone worth anything was already committed somewhere. What are your expectations for the program? I think reasonable expectations for a top MAC program are 8-9 wins annually with the occasional 10-11 win season. That's what I ultimately expect. That would make for some pretty entertaining football. Would you prefer an older established coach who isn't going anywhere or a PJ Fleck? I think I would trade off the 1 "dream" season that WMU has for consistency and a solid program. I put dream in parantheses because college football sucks for G5's because you have no shot at winning a national championship.  Fleck will be gone and who knows what WMU will be.

 

There have been some iffy coaching strategies this season, but I think the biggest problem right now is lack of depth. Is depth REALLY expected at this stage in the rebuild though? We are just getting to the point where we have decent to good starters. Expecting depth this soon might be a little much I think, as unfortunate as it is. Injuries have also been an issue this season. Great QB has missed 3 games. All-MAC looking RB has missed every meaningful game. Draftable edge rusher has been injured all season. Various other starters injured on an already green defense. Our offense has some serious talent when healthy. 5 new offensive lineman this season who are doing a GREAT job.

 

I'm not always happy with results, but I am fine with Bowden and Co. as long as there is no regression. Keep up the steady progress and get your ass bowl eligible again this season.

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9 minutes ago, UA1987 said:

No not really what I'm saying and I don't know what they do at Ohio, but demeanor or conduct of a coaching staff can have a significant impact on enthusiasm and discipline of a team. I'm not saying Terry is too old and has lost this team at all, as I think he is well liked, but I don't want to see things like a reserve lineman and a potential starter in a year or two standing 20 yards from the team during a game and looking disgusted at not playing. I watched Western's players (including reserves) hustle to designated spots on the field on timeouts to keep everyone alert and in the game. I also saw us bungle a pregame motivational stunt and it being used against us. If you do not have the mental aspect of this game buttoned down you will lose when you should win and upsets will be harder to obtain and I think we need a little work on this part of the game in addition to signing up more solid recruits.                        

 

I was just trying to capture what I thought you were referencing.  Some of the things you've seen with player behavior would probably upset me too.  However, we don't see the totality of how motivation and discipline is handed out from this coaching staff.  It's sure doesn't appear to often be open and outward for everyone to see.  I'd probably like to see more of that too.  But, it's certainly beyond anyone's knowledge to say that one way is proven to work better than another.  

 

The reason I referenced OU is because they have a rather stoic, veteran coach, who's also had a very long career.  

 

And I personally have no problem with the breaking/burning of the boat oar, and I've explained why previously.  

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We won 5 games combined from 2009 - 12. So to have won 5 games to finish 2015....and win another 5 games between September 3rd 2016 through October 22nd 2016 shows Bowden has made substantial progress.

 

Last year was the best defense I've ever seen at UA. Bowden and Amato get the credit. Bowl win, and 8 total wins - that's ground-braking stuff at UA.

 

This year has been tough. Graduation on the defensive side has hit us hard. And the replacements are either too young, too injured or too limited to remotely approach the level of play we saw last season. The Buffalo game was as bad a defense performance as I've ever seen. 

 

The offense has been awesome...when healthy. And when not playing in Buffalo. 

 

Bowden's transfer-heavy plan has yielded decent results. I love Jojo, and loved Coe and loved a healthy Jamal Marcus. And many others. But relying heavily on which 1-year players annually come across on the waiver wire comes up snake eyes on occasion too. We rolled a few of those this summer.

 

With Marcus, Moore, Pittman and Boxen all either severely hobbled or completely out, that's just too much to overcome. Other than Gilbert, our LB play has ranged from inconsistent, to flat-out bad. That's been crippling.

 

With a healthy offense, maybe with Ball returning, we can wreak some havoc against Toledo Wednesday. But Kareem Hunt could go for 300 yards. We need to stack the box and take our chances 1-on-1 with the DB's.

 

So getting back to the original question - my opinion is we're WAY better off than we were 5 years ago. Our offense will be great again next season, so I'm not concerned there. But we need a big influx of IMPACT DL's and LB's in 2017 if we're going to become the team we all want the Zips to be. And the one that Larry Williams wants the Zips to be. 

 

We'll see how this season ultimately plays out, plus next season. Bowden's not as sexy as Fleck, but he's definitely earned 6 years. He bought in to the Program at a really difficult time, and represents UA football very well today. 

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